Mohali: India’s Ravindra Jadeja had no regrets after falling 10 runs short of a rare Test century by a number eight batsman on Monday. India are firmly in control of the third Test as England, who conceded a 134-run first innings lead, were reeling on 78 for four at close with Ravichandran Ashwin striking with three wickets.
The 27-year-old all-rounder had shown great restraint during a partnership with Ashwin that swung the third Test India’s way, but he suddenly went on the attack and perished trying to hit Adil Rashid for six.
“The shot that I got out to is my pet shot,” Jadeja told reporters.
“I can hit six anytime with that shot. I had the confidence, but the ball came rather slow off the wicket and that’s why I didn’t get the required impact. I am not disappointed that I got out to a shot like that.” After 22 Tests and constant speculation about whether he was worth a place in the team, Jadeja arrived at the crease with India in some trouble at 204-6.
England attacked with a heavily-packed off-side field and he was largely content to nudge the ball around until he got into the 70s when he suddenly went on the attack.
He moved outside his wicket to smash Chris Woakes for the first of four boundaries in one over and charged down the pitch to try to launch Rashid over the ropes, only to be caught by Woakes in the deep.
“They were bowling boring lines. It was only outside the off stump, off-stump, off-stump and off-stump,” said Jadeja who has never made a Test hundred.
“I was not running out of time. In fact I had enough time. I just thought ‘let’s disturb the bowler by going outside off-stump’. There were only two fielders on the leg-side. That’s what I was trying and luckily I got four boundaries in that over.” Jadeja brought up his third Test fifty in 104 balls, marking the achievement with his trademark bat-swirling celebration.
“It’s a traditional Rajput style. I can’t bring a sword into the ground, so have to make do with the bat,” he said.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is among those who believe Jadeja is a better Test batsman than his 23.5 average suggests and the all-rounder does not lack self-belief.
“It’s not that I consider myself as a batsman, I am a proper batsman,” said Jadeja, the first Indian to hit three triple centuries in first-class cricket.
“I’ve been scoring runs in first-class cricket ... Of course this is my longest Test knock but I knew I can play and pace my knock. I was not in a hurry. I knew once I settle, I can accelerate after 50-60-70 balls.”